Thread: Taking Up Slack
View Single Post
Old 10-02-2004, 04:08 AM   #3
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Taking Up Slack

Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi Ted,

Just last weekend, Saotome sensei was talking about making contact with one's tegatana and using it to affect your partner. He specifically talked about nage making his/her skin "taut" against uke's attacking shomenuchi and just using that to affect uke. (George, if you understood this differently or could give more depth to what I understood, please do so...) I've been thrown by him in this manner.

I have trained with non-Ki Society people (hi Chuck!) who connect with the barest of skin-to-skin contact. For instance, one person stands with his/her hands palm up, and the their partner places his/her hands on it, palms down. The person with their palms up then tries to affect his/her partner's balance by moving. If "uke" feels anything, they're free to just move their hands. I've been thrown this way in the past. I've shown this exercise (or, at least, my interpretation thereof) where I currently train.

I never got to feel him, but from those who have, I heard that Yamaguchi sensei used to have hands that felt "sticky." Without him gripping, he was able to affect people through this sort of soft yet compelling hands. I have felt students on his (who are now shihan) who do this sort of thing.

Of course, this doesn't mean that this it the only way that we practice. As you mentioned before, Aikikai is an organization, not a style. There are those out there who do use a rather strong, "crushing" grip. We do it at times, too.

But, to say that no one outside of Ki Society or any one group doesn't practice in the manner that you outline is, I think, painting with a rather broad brush...

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun
That's the way I understood it, Jun. I would add that when Ted talks about relaxed extension automatically taking up the slack, it very much fits with what Yamaguchi Sensei said about no technique should take more effort than the weight of the arms resting on the partner.

Saotome Sensei seldom grips you, unless it is a technique like yonkyo... his touch is light and he gives direction to the movement with his hips and legs, not the arms. At any instant he is capable of throwing an atemi, which is true of Ikeda Sensei as well. Anothe one who put emphasis on this principle was the elder Osawa Sensei. There is quite a bit of his movement that one can see in Saotome Sensei.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote